Archive for August, 2011

No Intellectual Theft, As HSN Scores Win In Patent Infringement Case

August 31, 2011

In our career we’ve written hundreds of stories about lawsuits, and here’s one where HSN emerged the victor.

According to a press release Thursday, the No. 2 home shopping network won a summary judgment of non-infringement in a patent lawsuit.

In the case a company called Parallel Networks had sued HSN, along with dozens of co-defendants, alleging that the defendants’ websites infringed a patent directed to client-server communication technology, whatever that means.

We don’t have details here, folks.

“Unique to this case is that obtaining a favorable summary judgment of non-infringement in the Eastern District of Texas in the early stages of patent litigation is extremely rare,” the law firm that handled the case for HSN, Seyforth Shaw, said in a rather immodest press release.

“When compared to most other districts, the Eastern District of Texas is famous for being a plaintiff-friendly venue, following a strict litigation schedule and having more cases go to trial,” the press release said.

The Seyfarth team coordinated with the co-defendants in preparing claim construction positions, a technology tutorial, summary judgment briefing, and coordinating for the June 21 argument before the court.

The defendants — i.e. HSN — contended that, based on the proper construction of certain key claim elements, none of the defendants’ websites could be found to infringe.

The court granted the motion in-part, finding that most of the defendants’ websites — including the HSN website, HSN.com — could not infringe as a matter of law.

Anyway, here is just part of the press release that a former colleague forwarded to us.

Seyfarth IP Team Scores an Unprecedented Victory for Home Shopping Network in Patent Infringement Suit

CHICAGO (August 31, 2011) — Lawyers in Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s Intellectual Property practice, Mike Levinson, Joe Lanser and Matt Werber, successfully obtained a summary judgment of non-infringement on behalf of our client, Home Shopping Network (HSN).

Seyfarth Shaw has over 750 attorneys located in 10 offices throughout the United States, including: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., as well as internationally in London. Seyfarth Shaw provides a broad range of legal services in the areas of corporate, labor and employment, employee benefits, litigation and real estate. The firm’s clients include over 300 of the Fortune 500 companies, and our practice reflects virtually every industry and segment of the economy.

Queen Latifah Reigns On HSN As The Network Targets African-American Women Shoppers

August 29, 2011

Sorry we didn’t post all weekend, but we got derailed by a lady by the name of Irene. Flooding. No power. All on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in NOLA.

But we had to comment on the debut of Queen Latifah’s fashion line on HSN, with the Today’s Special, a suede hobo purse, on Saturday. Latifah, i.e. Dana Owens of East Orange, N.J., was a natural hawking her wares. As host Colleen Lopez pointed out, she really didn’t even have to be there, because Latifah was doing such a great job explaining her Queen Collection so well.

Latifah started out as a rapper and then moved on to acting and films with huge success (an Oscar nominee for “Chicago,” we believe). She’s a warm, down-to-earth, smart, beautiful woman, and she’s a big woman. And as she stated, she’s a sensitive Pisces. And she makes no excuses for her size.

Latifah said that she had been offered loads of money to do fashion lines before signing on with HSN, which she said “got” women. Latifah’s HSN line ranges in size from XS to 3X, and there is no label on it being for “plus-sized” women.

InStyle magazine this month mentions Latifah’s line, with a photo of a gorgeous draped dress that we were coveting.

What was especially uplifting were the many, many calls that Latifah got from African-American women, who said they admired her, her accomplishments and her style. Latifah’s fessed up to owning $3,000 purses, so even though her TS was $160, not cheap, it was considerably less expensive than what she is used to carrying.

HSN never markets this fact, but it has become a real promoter of African-American vendors. Artists, athletes and entrepreneurs including Iman, Serena Williams, Carol’s Daughter, Mary J. Blige, Natalie Cole, Antthony Design Originals, Sean Combs and Professor Amos are all on HSN’s roster.

And HSN used to have even more African-American vendors. Terry Lewis is a former HSN host who had a great line of classic designs, with great leather pants and skirts. Lewis’s fans still skewer HSN for not having her on the air anymore.

And Beyonce’s mother, Tina Knowles, once had a clothing line on HSN.

HSN also recently did a day that featured products tied to the premiere of the movie “The Help.”

We don’t see by effort by any of the other home shopping networks to target women of color, and we think it’s a great strategy on HSN’s part.

Our Mea Culpa, Plus HSN CEO Mindy Grossman Holding A ‘Fireside Chat’

August 25, 2011

HSN, Inc. to Participate in the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference

First of all, we offer a mea culpa to those who have pointed out a number of typos and errors in our recent blogs. We are writing after we get home from a long day at work, and that sometimes means we’re at the computer blogging at 1 a.m. or later.

Since we are morning folks, not night owls, we are making mistakes. But we want to keep the blog up to date, so we guess we’re trading perfection for staying current. It’s not the best situation. But we’ll make of a better effort to catch any typos, bleary-eyed or not.

Now that we have that out of the way, HSN CEO Mindy Grossman will participate in the Goldman Sachs 18th Annual Global Retailing Conference in New York City on Sept. 7 at 4:05 pm, the home shopping network said Wednesday. The format will be “a Fireside Chat,” which is a new one on us.

To listen to a live broadcast of the presentation, visit the investor relations section of the netwrok’s website at http://www.hsni.com. For those unable to participate, an archived broadcast will be available shortly following the presentation.

About

Iman, Bowie’s Better Half, Debuts An Upscale Clothing Collection On HSN

August 24, 2011

Mrs. David Bowie, better known as model-entrepreneur Iman, Wednesday launched a second line of apparel and accessories on HSN.

The new line is called the Iman Platinum Collection, and is much more upscale that her first HSN effort, Iman Global Chic.

While Global Chic has purses and jewelry made of manmade materials, Platinum has items made of real lamb leather and suede.

In fact, Iman has the Today’s Special, a perforated suede jacket for $160. Taking a quick look online, the stuff looks pretty classy.

Tony Bennett, After Duets With Lady Gaga And Amy Winehouse, Is Coming To HSN Sept. 10

August 24, 2011

Tony Bennett doing a duet with Lady Gaga, as well as with the late Amy Winehouse? We’ll explain.

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman had mentioned during the home shopping channel’s second-quarter earning call that Bennett was coming to St. Petersburg, Fla. But we were so busy last week we missed the official press release.

Bennett will perform live on HSN Sept. 10 to celebrate his 85th birthday and hawk an “exclusive” collection of his greatest hits “with Music’s Biggest Stars including: Michael Buble, Sheryl Crow, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Josh Groban, Queen Latifah, John Mayer, Carrie Underwood and many more,” the HSN press release said.

Crooner Bennett, will appear on HSN for a one-hour multi-platform concert at 7 p.m. to launch his latest CD, DUETS II.

“Bennett fans can also go to http://www.hsn.com, keyword: Tony Bennett to send birthday well wishes to Tony and view special content and videos leading up to his HSN debut,” according to the home shopping network.

Bennett’s new 17-song compilation includes hit songs featuring today’s hot artists. with the duets including, “The Way You Look Tonight” with Faith Hill; “The Lady is a Tramp” with Lady Gaga; “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” with Michael Buble; “It Had To Be You” with Carrie Underwood and “Stranger in Paradise” with Andrea Bocelli.

The other musicians joining Bennett on the CD include Mariah Carey, Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, Norah Jones, Lady Gaga, k.d.lang, Willie Nelson, Queen Latifah, Alejandro Sanz and Winehouse.

“HSN is continuing to keep HSN current and relevant while entertaining our customers is a core component of our entertainment strategy,” HSN senior vice president of merchandising Sandy Conrad said in a canned statement. “Welcoming Tony Bennett for the launch of his new Duets II CD collection gives us the chance to provide our customers an exclusive opportunity to connect with one of the world’s greatest talents.”

There’s no doubt that Bennett is a legend. He has won 15 Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Award.

HSN customers will have the opportunity to order a special exclusive 2-disk bundle that will include Duets II and a bonus disk which will be available on-air at HSN, through hsn.com and via HSN Mobile for $14.95.

Here’s the boilerplate on Bennett:

Entering his seventh decade as a recording artist with over 100 albums and 15 Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Bennett has earned his legendary status many times over. He remains the Columbia recording artist with the greatest longevity at the label.

In 2006 his DUETS CD was released in honor of his 80th birthday and became the singer’s best selling CD to date garnering three Grammy Awards and platinum sales. His 2007 prime-time special, “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” won seven Emmy Awards. A visual artist as well, three of his original paintings are part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian. He has published three books – his autobiography, “The Good Life” and two books of his paintings, “Tony Bennett: What My Heart Has Seen,” and “Tony Bennett In the Studio; A Life of Art and Music.”

His humanitarian efforts are renowned and the United Nations honored him with their Humanitarian Award in 2007Bennett founded, in association with the Department of Education in New York City, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts – a public arts high school in his hometown of Astoria, Queens. With his wife Susan, he established Exploring the Arts, a charitable organization that supports arts education in NYC public high schools.

Joan Rivers’ QVC TSV Jacket Was Too Snug For Our Expanding Body

August 24, 2011

We picked on HSN yesterday, and we can’t let QVC off the hook today.

Here’s the bottom line: We know we’ve gained weight that we have to get rid of, but did anyone else find that Joan Rivers’ Today’s Special Value ran small?

Last week longtime QVC vendor River’ had a TSV that was a Chanel-like jacket for $55 and change. It had a cute ruffle, goldtone buttons and came in great shades. You had a choice of red, brown, cobalt blue, green and black.

Joan Rivers, who is not wearng her TSV jacket in this shot

There were also matching skirts, shells, and even a purse and big fabric flower pin.

A lot of QVC fashions just come in XXS or M or L. This jacket was sized 2 and up.

We ordered the jacket and skirt in our usual size 4. The skirt was too tight, which unfortunately was no surprise because we’re carrying our flab like saddlebags. But the jacket was too tight, too.

We just tried on a Talbots T-shirt that was an extra small, and it fit fine. So what’s up with the size 4 jacket being cut small?

We sent everything back.

We’re curious if anyone else had problems with the fit of Joan’s jacket?

HSN’s Sonoma Studios Jewelry Line Gives Cali A Bad Name

August 23, 2011

Good luck to anyone who orders the Today’s Special from Sonoma Studios on HSN.

The prices on this jewelry line seemed too good to be true, and in fact they were. We ordered a turquoise heart pendant and a chunky labradorite necklace, and almost broke our neck rushing to the Post Office to send them back. The quality was terrible.

The turquoise was ugly, and the labradorite was dull and gray, without the gorgeous blue glow-from-within that the stone normally flashes.

The Today’s Special is three-piece set of stretch bracelets in several different kinds of stones. The price is $25.

Our advice is save your money.

‘Blow Out’ Reality Show Star Jonathan Antin Lands On ShopNBC

August 20, 2011

Jonathan Antin, one of the few straight hair stylists in Beverly Hills, is now hawking hair gear on ShopNBC.

Antin, who was the often weepy star of the Bravo reality show “Blow Out,” at one point had a hair product line on QVC. His abrasive dealings with QVC, in fact, were part of the show.

We just noticed that Antin has the Today’s Top Value on ShopNBC, a “spinning brush and blow dryer all in one.” It’s from Conair.

HSN Host Colleen Lopez Explains The Chemistry Of Bronze

August 20, 2011

After we wrote a blog headlined “Bronze Is Not A Noble Metal To Us, HSN!,” we got a nice response from HSN host Colleen Lopez.

We were complaining, what a surprise, about Marianna and Richard Jacobs being the latest HSN vendors to be doing jewelry in bronze, rather than silver and gold, whose prices have skyrocketed. Colleen had described bronze as a noble metal, and that sparked a debate about whether bronze was in fact “noble.”

Here is what Colleen told us today:

Hi Homeshoppingista!

I wanted you to have our thoughts on Bronze…. First – we love the warm patina, the wearability and affordability of bronze. As you have noticed, many of our designers are working with silver, bronze and copper.

The bronze we sell on HSN is 92% Copper (with zinc and/or tin as used in the alloy). Copper is often referred to as a noble metal. Although it’s not technically categorized as a noble metal, like gold or platinum, it does have some properties that allow it to behave similarly to the noble metals.

Copper or Bronze is very resistant to corrosion and will never rust. Copper is used in the alloy of other noble metals (gold and silver) – in fact 10K could technically have as much copper as gold in the formula.

Just wanted you to know where we were coming from when talking about Bronze. Hopefully metal prices will come back down to earth so we can afford the true noble metals – in the mean time, we love being able to offer a beautiful, long lasting alternative.

Thanks for keeping us on our toes.

Thanks for taking the time to write us, Colleen.

Kathy Levine’s QVC La Vintage Jewelry Line Looks Dead In The Water

August 20, 2011

It’s looks like former QVC host Kathy Levine’s costume jewelry line for the home shopping network has met it’s end.

Levine, who left QVC years ago and married a well-to-do older gentleman, for a brief time did a clothing line for QVC’s rival, HSN. It wasn’t a very good collection.

Then she started doing a jewelry line, La Vintage, that reminded us a lot of Heidi Daus’s pieces for HSN. But they were not up to snuff when compared to Heidi’s work.

Now Levine posted this on Facebook:

For all of you who asked what I’m up to,… the answer is, not much. I don’t have any commitments from Q so it appears I will be finding other things to do. I keep busy w volunteering, cooking for Steve, traveling on bike trips, & seeing my Mom frequently. She just celebrated her 90th & we were all there. It’s a different life, but as I round the corner to my 60th, it’s fine. Onward. Give me a subject to write about & I’ll think about it.

“No commitments from Q.” Sounds like La Vintage has come to an end.